Mon, 28 December 2009
Asma Jahangir is the Chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a special 'rapporteur' for the UN on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs. She has denounced a Supreme Court Ruling in Pakistan with regard to the 'National Reconciliation Ordinance' there on the grounds that it threatens both the rule of law and the country's survival as a democracy.
For context, Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, has also accused those demanding his resignation of threatening the country's democratic system.
In a speech on Sunday 27th December marking the second anniversary of the assassination of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Zardari said opponents working to bring down his government were "colluding" with anti-government fighters. Benazir Bhutto's killers are said to be still at large.
The speech was Zaidari's first public appearance since the supreme court struck down the amnesty which to that point had protected him and several other senior ruling PPP party officials from corruption charges.
In the meantime, there are daily bombings around the country killing hundreds of Pakistani citizens.
From The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2009
Tue, 15 December 2009
In this interview, Claudia Cragg speaks with Cyril Christo, a poet whose film 'A Stitch in Time' (an anti-nuclear documentary) was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988. His collections of poetry include 'The Twilight Language' (Canio's Editions) and 'Hiroshima, my love' (Edwin Mellen Press 1997). His wife, Marie Wilkinson, who is also featureds as a guest in the piece, is an architect, planner, photographer. The two live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Thu, 19 November 2009
Indian state authorities have announced that, 25 years after the Union Carbide Bhopal tragedy that killed thousands, the (till now) sealed pesticide plant is to be opened for tours. In this interview, Dr Suroopa Mukherjee explains that the Bhopal victims' problems are still a very long way from being over.
The Bhopal disaster - or 'Bhopal gas tragedy' - took place at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal in the state of Madya Pradesh. At midnight on 3 December 1984, the plant accidentally released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, exposing more than 500,000 people to MIC and other chemicals. The first official immediate death toll was 2,259. Others estimate 8,000-10,000 died within 72 hours and 25,000 have since died from gas-related diseases. The deaths go on.
Some 25 years after the gas leak, 390 tonnes of toxic chemicals abandoned at the Union Carbide plant continue to pollute the ground water in the region and affects thousands residents of Bhopal who depend on it.
There are currently civil and criminal cases related to the disaster ongoing in the United States District Court, Manhattan and the District Court of Bhopal, India against Union Carbide, now owned by Dow Chemical Company, with arrest warrants pending against Warren Anderson who was CEO of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster.
Dr Suroopa Mukherjee PhD is an academic and activist at The Hindu College of Delhi University who has worked closely with victims and has spearheaded the 'We for Bhopal' movement.
Fri, 18 September 2009
In this interview, Claudia Cragg talks for KGNU with T.R. Reid who was a bureau chief in Tokyo and London for The Washington Post. His new book, “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care,” is a systematic study of the health systems in seven countries that was inspired in part by his family’s experiences living overseas and receiving health care abroad. Mr. Reid also produced a 2008 documentary on the same topic for PBS called “Sick Around the World.”
Sun, 30 August 2009
I have been working on a New Media memoir about my late mother, an actress. Diane Hart lived an extraordinary life and so an extraordinary memoir is required.
Fri, 3 July 2009
Fresh from the success of the 'Viva Palestina: Lifeline from Britain to Gaza' aid convoy - which took over 100 vehicles to Gaza from the UK, Member of Parliament, George Galloway has linked up on his US tour with the Vietnam veteran and peace campaigner, Ron Kovic, to launch a similar, but even larger venture from the States which will set off on its journey on the 4th July. And, as he explains in this interview to KGNU's Claudia Cragg, Galloway announced the initiative at a 1000-strong meeting in Anaheim, California, rounding off a packed-out, coast to coast speaking tour highlighting the Palestinian cause.
Sat, 2 May 2009
The 'Random Tales Across Jordan' project may be accessed here at :-
click here (needs broadband for best viewing)
Won't you please visit the site and sign The Guest Book?
(Many places around the world are sadly, as we all know, a long way from decent broadband access, so to give others a taste of the project, the audio of the interviews is posted
separately from the project as a podcast).
In my personal opinion, Calle without fail always went too far for me but Intellectually and creatively, there was something worth emulating. The factor that has most influenced me here came from reading the 1988 essay of the late Jean Baudrillard (Leach, 2002, p 52). In this, he describes 'Suite Venitienne' in terms of a reciprocal loss of will on the part of both the pursued and the pursuer. This ruse would perhaps allow me to tease my non-fiction work into greater creativity and so I decided to apply this to a journey I was to take in October of last year. I would interview people entirely at random to produce a piece of creative non-fiction from a 10-day thousand-mile car trip that my husband and I took through the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. (Should you wish to read the full Critical Commentary, it is available at this link)
Tue, 7 April 2009
Alberto Fujimori, the former Peruvian president who is now 70 years old, has finally been convicted of kidnapping and murder. He has been sentenced to 25 years in jail in what was described as a landmark ruling for human rights cases in Latin America.
A three-judge panel found the 70-year-old guilty of authorizing a military death squad during the state's "dirty war" against Maoist rebels in the 1990s.
Maria McFarland, a Human Rights Watch researcher who attended the trial said. "After years of evading justice, Fujimori is finally being held to account for some of his crimes,"
"With this ruling, and its exemplary performance during the trial, the Peruvian court has shown the world that even former heads of state cannot expect to get away with serious crimes."
Argentina, Chile and Colombia may also be watching this day as they come to terms with their own dark deeds of past history.
Fujimori during the trial repeatedly protested his innocence and said he deserved credit for saving Peru from anarchy.
He told the court, "I governed from hell, not the palace," and blamed his former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, for any counter-insurgency excesses.
Fujimori's daughter, Keiko, is a congresswoman and a leading contender for the 2011 presidential race and says that she plans to pardon her father just as soon as she can.
In this interview held at the beginning of Fujimori's trial more than 15 months ago, one of his victims - Gisela Ortiz who lost her brother, a student, as Fujimori waged the La Cantuta massacre - explained why she thought Fujimori should be brought to justice.
(N.B. this interview is with Gisela Ortiz, speaking in Spanish, with translation of her words by peace and human rights activist, Hayden Gore).
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:24 PM
Sun, 8 March 2009
My younger son has just finished reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and commented that it was not only an extraordinary literary work but also, of course, a source for rare insight into the complications of mental illness. This reminded me of a conversation (not so much a formal interview, you understand) I had a few years ago with the fabulous and extraordinary author, Joanne Greenberg, who as Hannah Green wrote I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.
At the time of recording, Joanne Greenberg's just published novel was 'Appearances'. In this conversation, she also discussed not just mental illness, but also creativity, the role of 'Underwood', how she creates her stories, how she writes 'sex', personal memories of a vicarious brush with Sylvia Plath, and a great deal more.
Wed, 25 February 2009
Since hitting the mainstream, the six-word form has been re-imagined countless times. From kindergarten through graduate school, teachers have brought the six-word storytelling exercise into their classrooms. A young girl in California ended her eulogy for her poker-loving grandma with a six-word summation of her life: “Look, I have a royal flush!”
Six-word memoirs continue to pour into SMITH Magazine’s website every day and themes have emerged, from faith to hair to sex to food. By far the most common thread, however, is love. Passionate love, parental love, platonic love—it seems to be the most universally life-changing factor for storytellers of every age, background and worldview.